ICTs, the Internet and Sustainability: Where Next?

By David Souter, Don MacLean on October 4, 2012

This final paper in the IISD Global Connectivity project—ICTs, the Internet and Sustainability—presents an analysis of the views of ten international thought leaders and opinion shapers, in the context of Rio+20 and upcoming major events in the telecommunications and Internet sectors.

The first section summarizes the responses to the project's core question: How far and in what ways do we need to change our understanding of sustainability in the light of the information and communication revolution?

The second section looks at the Rio+20 Summit and its outcome document, The Future We Want, seeking to explain the very limited extent to which Rio recognized the impact and implications of ICTs and the Internet on sustainability.

The third section asks what needs to be done now to address four challenges that are central to the interaction between ICTs and sustainability:

  • Mitigation of the environmental impact of ICTs
  • Maximization of their potential contribution to environmental adaptation, sustainable economic growth and social equity
  • Understanding of the long-term changes that are inherent in an evolving Information Society
  • The need for more productive international discourse around ICTs, the Internet and sustainability than that which currently takes place

Report details

Technology and Innovation
IISD, 2012